Monday, October 12, 2009
How a visit to the Post Office turned into an interrogation scene from a movie.
My friend Nando from NYC had sent me a package a couple of weeks ago and I still had not received the item. In fact I received my Mom's care package and my Sister's before his. We were a bit worried as to where the package was. So then I received a memo in the mail to go to the post office to pick up my box! Hooray. I went there and putting my Croatian lessons to the test I gave the memo to the clerk behind the desk and she said "something , something, kuna," Hu? I don't understand I say "samo segundo". Just a second, and I run out to the parking lot to get my hubby to explain. We go back and the lady was just telling me I had to pay 10 kunas and in exchange she gave me a blue envelope. That's it? I ask. THIS is my package? No,no my hubby said there is a memo inside the envelope that you need to take to the building next door, its the customs office and they have your package. Alright, walk to the building and it is closed! OK come back Monday.
It's Monday, again I put my lessons to the test and I walk into the government owned customs building. The security guy asks for my passport. I don't have it I am thinking, I give him my Colorado drivers license. He writes ALL the info down. OK he says "prvi kat" (first floor) "fala" I say.
I walk one flight of stairs, then I see several employees dressed in their blue polo shirts and many doors. Oh which do I open? Ok I ask for directions half Croatian/half English. The nice employee tells me "follow me" as I show him my memo. Up another flight of stairs. We walk into an office and several employees are working on packages and sorting them out. He tells something to one of the men and he responds by telling me to show him the memo. The nice employee who escorted me said in English "he will help you now have a nice day". I thank him and turn to the next employee who in turn tells me "go to my colleague" as he points to the man across the room. Alright I walk across to the man and I notice he has a badge on (like a police officer badge!) He sees my memo then says "follow me". We go to another office, and he goes to a desk types something on the computer then walks over the next desk and looks through a folder. He tells me, "what is in the package?", I answer I don't know it is a gift from my friend. "A gift hu?" Yes I answer. He continues, "you didn't buy anything on e-bay?" No, I didn't purchase anything it is a gift and I don't even know what is in the box." He stated, "Ok, I believe you!"
By now I am thinking "what is going on why is he asking me all this?"
Then he asks me in Croatian, if I speak Croatian. I reply "mali". Then he smiled, and his other colleague smiled. I corrected myself, "malo". (Later my husband informed me, you don't say mali (small) in reference to speaking, you say malo because "mali" is in reference to their Penis size and some people could get offended). I replied well the employee smiled at me, AH!! that is why he smiled! Ok continuing with the story...So then he writes something on my memo and tells me "follow me". I am walking behind him and the other employees are staring at me. We reach another desk, and the nice lady smiles at me as the man hands her the memo. She asks for my id card. Again I hand her my Colorado license. She writes all the information down. She looks at the calendar, looks at me, looks at the calendar then puts some numbers on the calculator and says "you must pay 43 kunas". I pay then she looks for my package and hands it to me and says bye-bye. "Sve?" (that is all?) DA. Yes.
I walk out of the office saying what just happened?
Later my husband told me, it is because of the value that was declared when the package was mailed to you. Anything over 100 dollars you must pay custom taxes. I didn't know this. In addition when the man said "I believe you" he was saying that because I could have ordered the stuff on ebay then it is mandatory to pay the 23 % local tax plus 20% import tax. Then I would have paid ALOT more but because he believed me I only paid import tax. I feel so ignorant, I didn't know any of this. I mean I have never had the opportunity to receive or send anything overseas. It is true what they say, You learn something new everyday. Except for me, I like to say, I learn something new every minute.
I am now at home, just staring at the box. The culprit of so much anxiety. Should I open it now and tell you what is inside or wait to call my friend Nando in the states?
Allright if you insist, I am going to open it right now and tell you the contents: "Wow", "Oh I love this color!" "UUUHH"! I received some beautiful cosmetics (which includes:lip balm, lipstick, eye-shadow, nail-polish, make-up brushes, perfume stick...) And also some YOGI TEA: "Mexican Sweet Chili" and "Lemon Ginger". Better go and try all these products.
A big thanks to Nandoism it was definitely worth the wait! And to treat my anxiety I am going to enjoy that cup of tea now.